Victim Witness Program

The Roanoke County Victim/Witness Program is here to assist in making this experience easier and assure that victims and witnesses are treated fairly and with compassion, while participating in the criminal justice system. 

Also see: Emergency Numbers and Victim Resources pages.

Crime Victim and Witness Rights

As a victim or witness of crime, you have certain rights under Virginia's Crime Victim and Witness Rights Act. As a victim of a crime, you may be entitled to:

Information about...

  • your rights as a victim/witness of a crime
  • the criminal justice process and your role as a victim/witness
  • protective orders and other forms of protection
  • how to obtain a warrant if one has not been issued
  • financial assistance, including the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund and restitution
  • address and telephone confidentiality
  • availability of separate waiting areas during court proceedings

Notification of...

  • changes in court dates
  • significant developments in a case such as possible plea offers
  • bond hearings/ victim notification forms 
  • opportunity to prepare a written Victim Impact Statement prior to sentencing of a defendant

Assistance with...

  • obtaining a protective order and other forms of protection
  • filling out forms for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund
  • referrals to local resources 
  • understanding a defendant's bond conditions
  • receiving intercession services with your employer
  • receiving the services of an interpreter

Threatening a victim or a witness is a crime in Virginia. 

If you are threatened by the defendant or anyone else in regard to your testimony, call your local police department immediately and notify the Victim/Witness Program at 540-387-6181.

If you are subpoenaed...

We can help you with understanding the requirements of a subpoena and testifying in court; interceding with your employer if you are having difficulty taking off work to attend court. 

Tips on Testifying

  1. Be Prepared. Try to recall what happened and picture the scene and the objects there. Don't try to memorize your testimony; simply tell what happened in your own words.
  2. Speak Clearly and Loudly. If you did not hear the question or understand it, ask the attorney to repeat it.
  3. Answer Only the Question Asked of You. Stop immediately if the judge interrupts or an attorney objects to a question.
  4. Do Not Guess or Speculate. If you don't know the answer, say so. If you give an estimate of time or distance, be sure everyone knows you're estimating.
  5. Tell The Truth. Don't pause to try and figure out if your answer will hurt or help the case. Just answer to the best of your recollection.
  6. Be Courteous. Try to remain calm and do not lose your temper. Always be polite.
  7. Dress For Court. Dress comfortably and appropriately (shorts, t-shirts are not good choices however, it is not necessary to dress in a suit). It is often cold in the courtrooms so you may want to bring a sweater with you.